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Aim perfect through psychological safety

Perfecting the ceremonies and confusing on the product innovation is the symptom exhibited by long running projects . Psychological safety should be provided to team members of an Agile or any development team for that matter. Only when there’s deep respect for people, team members will be able to openly admit mistakes and try to improve upon themselves. Command and control management should be completely avoided to make people empower themselves.

Otherwise especially for long duration teams within organization it will be very difficult to come out and try any thing new and innovative. Good people practices like awarding experiments and encouraging people to go beyond ceremonies where it really matters will help them, the team and the organization.

Let’s get beyond ceremonies and build innovation spirits in the team so that Aim becomes perfect and suitable ceremonies (if required) will follow them.



Non functional requirements is critical to product development

How often do Development teams get complete requirements from the customer contract. The Sales hand over process effectiveness will determine this. If delivery teams get only technical requirement with performance requirements sometimes) from sales / account teams how will they be able to deliver good product?

If the requirements related to Information security, legal and regulation requirements are not available with Development team there will be greater chances that the product will have more defects .At  best if these non-functional requirements are force fit during tail end of the project completion still product will have defects and late deliveries.

A clean requirements elicitation and definition process should be developed and implemented to ensure great products are delivered through complete requirements understanding.


Flow and Pull systems help minimize cycle times

If process is necessary it should help cycle time reduction both internally and lead time.

Process needs to have a purpose. Without understanding if processes are followed it will surely lead to waste and frustration.  We can see this clearly in banking domains where transactions are carried out digitally without papers. Huge saving on time and resources both for the service provider and customer. The sheer volume of transactions and papers have been cut down a great deal . This is best example of digitalization process serving to increasing the transaction at super speed as well as reducing the wastes of papers etc.

This value premise of reduction in life cycle and savings upon on resource and time should be main focus for all product development. While there are many online transactions that have reduced life cycle time and saved resources, the volume is super high in banks. Similarly product development community can think of improving all process times to very minimum.

Pull and Flow system are great tools in making the process super effective and efficient.


Certification initiative should be a all round thought process

What drives your certification initiative? Customer or Management or Statutory regulations or belief system in any certification standard?

Not very difficult question to answer. Mostly key stakeholders like customers , regulatory bodies, domain compliance determine the decisions.

At the deeper level when we say customer decides, we need to ponder over existing customers, prospects, pipe-line proposals all together.  Product / industry domain also are also factored while companies decide to go for certification. In auto industries most of the OEMS and auto component manufacturers ask their suppliers to comply with IATF 16949:2016, manufacturing and services companies insisting on ISO 9001, 27001 and CMMI compliance from their vendors.

While there are so much practice knowledge and experience that have gone into the making of these standards, it will be great if all the stakeholders like customers, organization and suppliers, third parties come together and take a decision about the right standard to adapt by all of them at appropriate time. This will prove effective business in the complete supply chain.


Train Systems thinking at all levels

Systems thinking – Learning and developments :

Right from the induction phase of employees, Systems thinking concepts should be thought and presented to them. It is never an exaggeration or over stress to start the training on overall goal.

On the job training on technology, domain and customer requirements are taken care by the team leads / training function. At this level Systems thinking should be demonstrated by some characteristics like team goal, collaboration and shared values etc.

At the level of Project managers and above it should be the way of life.  Synergy principles like treating all people as equal, empowering employees and motivating them to try our=t innovation et al can happen.

There can be some awards / recognition for the teams that demonstrates best synergy.

Some of my thoughts on Systems thinking at all levels.


Build right product, right.

Building the product right follows building right product.

Since building right comes first, it would be better to start the product building at source. Yes right from customer perceiving the product theme,  software development organizations need to involve themselves. Quite possible that software organization vendors have been working with customer for long and understood their domain well. Also possible that there are some shifts in the customer organization at the senior levels / product domains. In this case software vendor would do well to suggest right features and good insights about the upcoming new products to them. The features, possible uses, user prospects et al can be some useful ideas that can come straight from vendors. This is cocreating right from problem space of product development.

Next phase of building it right will effectively follow by Agile development practices. This way Agile is extended beyond just the development areas toward wholesome product making.

System thinking is real product development.



Systems thinking harmonizes product building

Systems thinking will help all stakeholders in one page and ensure right product is built in a right manner.

Delivering superior quality solutions / products is everyone’s business. For this to happen companies and teams have been using various successful models like Lean, Six Sigma, LeSS,SAFe, Agile, PMP et all.

While all these frameworks have great principles and successfully demonstrated great products and services making great customer experience, there is a lot of dissatisfaction from customer segments. There are some analyzes, thought process about these. One common factor that is always felt by many development / field level teams is that  sufficient detailing of the non functional requirement is not communicated in full or not at all passed down to bottom layer of the teams. This is more true in software development organization where distributed teams are present across global geographies.  Functional requirements like technical specifications and to a certain extent performance requirements too are shared clearly with development teams. However information security, legal and domain specific requirements don’t get transmitted from sales to development teams effectively.  During project kick off meetings its essential for all the stakeholders to discuss various non functional requirements and ensure they get buy-in from all stakeholders. This way the product development will be truly agile and customer friendly.